The St. Paul Canadiens split a pair of games over the weekend, Friday losing a close 3-2 decision to the Cold Lake Ice and on Saturday beating the Frog Lake T-Birds 6-4. Head Coach Joe Young suspects it’ll be a tight season this year in the Jr B.
“It’s good to see in the league,” explains Young, “teams are closing the gap and it’s becoming a lot more competitive. It’s gonna be a really exciting season. I don’t think you’ll see any games get really out of hand, score-wise. Teams have done a good job bringing in players who are able to compete with other teams.”
The Canadiens and Ice have had a long-standing rivalry in the league, already showing their love for each other in the first two opening games. Game one between the rivals went down October 2nd, where between the two teams 202 penalty minutes were recorded. There was an incident in the game that really set the tone for the two clubs, explains Young, “there was a fight and one of their D-men grabbed one of our smaller guys and that’s where a lot [of the fighting] came from. There were a few 10 minute misconducts. It was a physical hockey game.”
“Let’s face the facts, they don’t like us, and we don’t like them,” declares Young with a chuckle, “I like [Cold Lake Head Coach] Scott Hood. But I wanna beat them every night. That’s just the way it is. They dominated the league for a long time and we wanna be right there with them.”
The Canadiens were successful in the first game, beating the Ice 8-3; however last Friday, October 9th, the Ice took that game 3-2.
“The Ice have dominated in the league for a really long time, it may be time for someone new to take over,” announces Joe. “Obviously, Cold Lake is gonna be tough, but I think it’s gotten to the point where other teams wanna have a crack at it and the only way to do that is to bring in top personnel and players.”
On Saturday, the Canadiens met the T-Birds, Young says he has to hand it to the team who just entered the league a year ago, “they came into the league last year, and they put in a really good showing their first year in the league. This year, they’ve improved a lot more, they have a lot of size and they have speed. They competed hard [Saturday].”
This weekend will be see a the Canadiens home on Friday against the Vermilion Tigers. A team the Canadiens haven’t had the pleasure of meeting yet, though Young expects a tough match-up. “Anytime you play Vermilion, they’re always gonna be a hard-working team. I don’t know much about their players this year, they picked up some new ones. Games like that you gotta out work them in the first period and then adjust from there if you have to.”
“It’s always scary going in playing teams for the first time when you don’t know what they have,” explains Young, “hopefully, we have a good start Friday and come out on top.” Puck drops at 8:00pm at the Clancy Richard Arena in St. Paul